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Boiler Basics 101: Common Rental Boilers on the Market

The boiler rental business began over fifty years ago, solving multiple industries’ need for temporary and emergency steam. Nationwide Boiler was at the forefront of the boiler rental industry, starting off with one of the first mobile rental boilers; a 20,000 lb/hr, 300 psig design, O-type package watertube boiler. This boiler was designed for permanent use on a highway-legal open deck trailer, making it a true mobile boiler. This new idea allowed companies to cut capital costs, save time, and be more efficient in their operations. Now, rental boilers are available for small-scale projects to industrial sized applications.

In last month’s edition of Boiler Basics 101, we discussed why rental boilers are a great choice for boiler owners in a variety of industries. To continue the topic, we will now discuss the different types of rental boilers currently on the market.

Trailer-Mounted Boilers

  • - Permanently installed on highway-legal trailers for easy transport by truck
  • - Boilers of various sizes up to 125,000 lb/hr, both saturated and superheated steam
  • - Detachable goosenecks and booster extensions allow for easy removal when space is limited
  • - Not protected from the weather and precautions must be taken for freeze protection (heat tracing and insulation or temporary housing shelters)
  • - Separate feedwater and water treatment systems and other auxiliaries can be provided to support the boiler, as needed

Skid-Mounted Boilers

  • - Shop-assembled package boilers, without any true mobility
  • - Available in capacities up to 250,000 lb/hr
  • - Depending on the size of the boiler, skid-mounted boilers can be transported on a flat-bed trailer, step-deck trailer, or by rail
  • - Cranes and/or forklifts typically required for both loading and offloading
  • - Not protected from the weather and precautions must be taken for freeze protection (heat tracing and insulation or temporary housing shelters)
  • - Separate feedwater and water treatment systems and other auxiliaries can be provided to support the boiler, as needed

Containerized Mobile Boilers

  • - Typically includes a package firetube boiler, installed inside a container and mounted on a chassis for mobility
  • - Ideal for users who need a boiler-only package that is weatherproofed for outdoor operation in the wintertime
  • - Separate feedwater and water treatment systems and other auxiliaries can be provided to support the boiler, as needed

Mobile Boiler Rooms

  • - Complete steam plants, self-contained within enclosed vans, with all equipment required to produce steam:
  •          * Package firetube boiler
  •          * Atmospheric feedwater system
    •          * Water softener
    •          * Chemical injection tank
    •          * Blowdown separator
  • - Typically available in capacities up to 1,000 hp
  • - Weatherproofed and better suited than alternatives for outdoor operation in the wintertime

Mobile Steam Plants

  • - Similar to a mobile boiler room, with all equipment required to produce steam
  • - Equipment is installed on an open, step-deck trailer
  • - Not protected from the weather and precautions must be taken for freeze protection (heat tracing and insulation or temporary housing shelters)

Transportable Steam Plants

    • - Complete steam plant, normally built inside of a standard 20 or 40’ shipping container
    • - Available with either a vertical or a horizontal boiler arrangement depending on requirements
    • - Cranes typically required for both loading and offloading
    • - These systems accommodate less capacity than a mobile boiler room
    • - Popular for overseas and government projects, due to ease of transportation

Each type of rental boiler system explained above has their own unique advantage and may be better fit for one user over another. The requirements of operation, however, are the same: end-users must supply a fuel source (natural gas, #2 oil, propane, or other fuel), electrical power supply, and make-up water. Which type of rental system is best fit for your unique operation?

Nationwide Boiler maintains an inventory inclusive of all types of boilers listed above, ranging in size from 47.5 hp to 200,000 lb/hr. Visit our website to find a complete listing of rental boilers available, and contact a Nationwide Boiler Sales Representative for additional details and pricing. 1-800-227-1966

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Discovery ChalleNGe Academy Visits Nationwide Boiler

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Located in Lathrop, CA, the Discovery ChalleNGe Academy is a Community High School run by the California National Guard in partnership with the San Joaquin County Office of Education. Part of the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program (NGYCP), the Academy was founded in 1993 to assist students in enhancing life skills, education levels, and employment potential.  This military-style program houses, feeds, and educates 16 to 18-year-old young adults that were unable to complete high school due to varying unfortunate circumstances. The program allows students to earn 65 High School credits while developing leadership, job, and academic skills, while improving self-esteem, pride, and confidence.  


With the school year coming to an end and graduation quickly approaching, The Academy set up a trip for a group of students working to complete their high school credits, and Nationwide Boiler was honored to participate. The goal of this field trip was to educate the graduating class on the many different education, trade, and career opportunities available to them once they step out into the real world.

The first stop of the day was San Jose State University, where they toured the campus and the new $130M recreation center. After experiencing lunch like a college student in the Student Union, they headed north to Nationwide’s shop in Fremont. Upon arrival, the students congregated on the patio to hear a warm welcome from President & CEO, Larry Day, and Vice President, Michele Tomas. The group was then taken on a tour of our 26,000 sq. ft. shop, where day-to-day activities include; boiler maintenance, welding, painting, electrical work, fabrication, equipment assembling, and other technical skills.

Nationwide Boiler’s Shop & Service Managers, Andrew Horne and Michael Rosmando, educated the students on the basics of a boiler system, and walked them through the different trade skills and career opportunities available not just here at Nationwide, but from other companies in similar and varying industries. Many of the students were interested in welding, electrical, and accounting careers. Who knows… we may have just met future Nationwide employees!

At Nationwide Boiler, we feel strongly about training and educating our youth so that we are able to successfully sustain our business and industry for future generations, and we are happy to have had the opportunity to be a part of this inspiring program. Thank you to Todd Robinson and the NGYCP for providing young adults with an opportunity that will help them secure their futures.

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Boiler Basics 101: Superheat vs. Saturated Steam

Playing off our last topic, some might argue that there is another boiler type, or classification, to consider. In today’s article, we will discuss the difference between saturated and superheated steam boilers, and the applications that they are most commonly used for.

Let’s begin by talking about the science behind these two types of steam. Simply put, when water is heated to its boiling point, it will begin to vaporize and saturated steam is produced. Superheated steam occurs when the water is continually heated to temperatures beyond the boiling point, without any increase in pressure. Also known as dry steam, superheated steam has a much lower density and produces zero condensate.

As with the other types of boilers previously discussed, saturated and superheated steam boilers each have their own unique advantages and disadvantages and are better geared for certain applications over others. Saturated steam has a high density and is an excellent heating source. Commonly utilized in food processing, sterilization, district heating, and pulp & paper processing, saturated steam has the following advantages: 

  • - Produces fast and even heating due to latent heat transfer
  • - The temperature can quickly be established through the control of pressure
  • - Has a high heat transfer coefficient, which requires a smaller heat transfer surface and in turn, allows for reduced initial
  •   equipment costs

Superheated steam is not typically utilized in heat transfer applications. However, due to its dry composition and ability to cool while remaining in the same physical state, it can be extremely versatile and is most commonly utilized in refineries, for generating electricity, and for powering turbines.

Superheated steam is ideal for powering turbines for the following reasons:

  • - The dry steam allows for steam-driven equipment to function effectively and efficiently (while condensate from wet steam
  •   would negatively affect performance of the equipment)
  • - Improves thermal efficiency and work capabilities of turbines
  • - Contains zero condensate, minimizing the risk of corrosion and erosion damage

With a low heat transfer coefficient that is equivalent to that of air, superheated steam has more energy and can work harder than saturated steam, but the heat content is less useful. In addition, boilers that are built to produce superheated steam require more expensive components on the boiler system, in comparison to a saturated steam boiler. Therefore, it is extremely important to do your homework ahead of time to determine which type of steam is best suited for your particular application.

Did you know that Nationwide Boiler maintains a fleet of both saturated and superheated steam boilers for rent and for sale? In fact, we own the World’s Largest 125,000 lb/hr saturated steam mobile boiler, and the World’s Largest 110,000 lb/hr superheated steam mobile boiler!  Visit our website at nationwideboiler.com to learn more.

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Boiler Basics 101: Types of Boilers

When we think about boilers, there are a two types that typically come to mind; firetube, or scotch marine, and watertube boilers. These types of boilers can be classified as hot water, steam, high pressure, and low pressure. In today’s blog post we will be answering the question: what are the basic differences between the different types of boilers?

Although their final function is the same, the main difference between a firetube and watertube boiler is the construction and design of each system. In a firetube boiler, water inside a vessel is surrounded by tubes that contain combustion gases. In other words, the ‘fire’ is inside the tubes, making it a ‘firetube’. Watertube boilers are essentially the opposite in design. Combustion gases surround a series of tubes that contain water, coining the name, watertube.

By definition, high pressure boilers are built to a maximum allowable working pressure (MAWP) above 15 psig, while low pressure boilers are designed for operation at 15 psig or below. Low pressure boilers are most commonly utilized in heating applications and require less maintenance than that of a high pressure unit. Furthermore, firetube boilers can be built for both low and high pressure applications, while watertube boilers are typically built for high pressure needs.

Some may think that firetube and watertube boilers are in the same category as hot water and steam boilers. However, steam and hot water boilers are actually a classification, and can be considered a subcategory to firetube & watertube boilers.

Hot water and steam boilers operate in a very similar manner, but hot water boilers don’t actually produce steam. In reality, a hot water boiler is just a fuel fired hot water heater, in which heat is added to increase the temperature to a level below the boiling point. Hot water boilers are not as powerful as steam boilers, which is why they are more commonly used in heating applications providing hot water at 120 – 220F.

Steam boilers heat water to levels that are above boiling point, in order to produce steam. They are much more powerful and are utilized in more industrial and heavy-commercial applications. Steam boilers can be designed to produce either saturated or superheated steam, which we will discuss further on in a future post.  

Be it a firetube, watertube, hot water, or steam boiler, they are all effective and efficient in their own unique ways. To learn in more detail about the differences between boiler types, visit the section on our website, “What Boiler Is Best For You”.
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